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Environmental Planner Careers

Environmental planners evaluate the potential environmental impacts of projects. They do this through a combination of research and monitoring. An environmental planner's job is similar to urban and regional planning, except that these professionals are more focused on the environment's sustainability. They create plans and recommend actions that take the environment into account.

As an environmental planner, you also ensure that development projects comply with environmental regulations. If you identify risks in a project, your job is to find ways to counterbalance them, reduce their impact, or suggest alternative actions.

Environmental planners can work for government agencies or private institutions. In states with strict environmental laws, these professionals are invited to construction projects to ensure that regulations are followed.

To become an environmental planner, you need a degree in environmental science, geography, or related fields. You may also need professional certification.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being an environmental planner. For example, did you know that they make an average of $32.37 an hour? That's $67,321 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 5% and produce 2,900 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does an Environmental Planner Do

There are certain skills that many environmental planners have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed imagination, reading skills and writing skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be an environmental planner, we found that a lot of resumes listed 17.7% of environmental planners included emergency, while 13.7% of resumes included federal regulations, and 12.8% of resumes included water quality. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the environmental planner job title. But what industry to start with? Most environmental planners actually find jobs in the professional and construction industries.

How To Become an Environmental Planner

If you're interested in becoming an environmental planner, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 35.3% of environmental planners have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 48.9% of environmental planners have master's degrees. Even though most environmental planners have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become an environmental planner. When we researched the most common majors for an environmental planner, we found that they most commonly earn master's degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on environmental planner resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become an environmental planner. In fact, many environmental planner jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many environmental planners also have previous career experience in roles such as research assistant or environmental scientist.

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Average Salary
$67,321
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
5%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
10,730
Job Openings

Environmental Planner Career Paths

Top Careers Before Environmental Planner

Top Careers After Environmental Planner

Planner
8.6 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for an Environmental Planner

Environmental Planners in America make an average salary of $67,321 per year or $32 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $88,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $51,000 per year.
Average Salary
$67,321

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range64k - 100k$81k$80,764
Olympia, WA
Salary Range54k - 81k$67k$67,094
Harrisburg, PA
Salary Range54k - 80k$66k$66,178
Fort Collins, CO
Salary Range53k - 78k$65k$64,732
New York, NY
Salary Range52k - 78k$64k$64,106
Chicago, IL
Salary Range51k - 77k$63k$63,341
$46k
$100k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Environmental Planner, SR
Environmental Planner, SR
Idaho Division of Human Resources
Idaho Division of Human Resources
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$58,90601/30/2021
$58,906
Environmental Planner H
Environmental Planner H
Washington State
Washington State
01/22/2021
01/22/2021
$65,92801/22/2021
$65,928
Environmental Planner 5
Environmental Planner 5
Washington State
Washington State
12/29/2020
12/29/2020
$72,75612/29/2020
$72,756
Associate Environmental Planner
Associate Environmental Planner
Santa Clara Valley Water District
Santa Clara Valley Water District
12/25/2020
12/25/2020
$109,34612/25/2020
$109,346
Associate Environmental Planner
Associate Environmental Planner
Santa Clara Valley Water District
Santa Clara Valley Water District
11/20/2020
11/20/2020
$109,34611/20/2020
$109,346
See More Recent Salaries

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Environmental Planner Demographics

Gender

male

49.7 %

female

45.4 %

unknown

4.9 %

Ethnicity

White

62.5 %

Asian

16.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

10.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.9 %

French

15.6 %

Portuguese

9.4 %
See More Demographics

Environmental Planner Education

Majors

Degrees

Masters

48.9 %

Bachelors

35.3 %

Certificate

6.5 %

Top Colleges for Environmental Planners

1. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

4. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Public

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

5. North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,101
Enrollment
23,708

6. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

7. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

8. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

9. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

10. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For an Environmental Planner

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 17.7% of environmental planners listed emergency on their resume, but soft skills such as imagination and reading skills are important as well.

Best States For an Environmental Planner

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an environmental planner. The best states for people in this position are California, Louisiana, Virginia, and Maryland. Environmental planners make the most in California with an average salary of $76,804. Whereas in Louisiana and Virginia, they would average $72,980 and $72,101, respectively. While environmental planners would only make an average of $71,188 in Maryland, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Environmental Planner Jobs:
1,521
Highest 10% Earn:
$116,000
Location Quotient:
1.21
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Virginia

Total Environmental Planner Jobs:
484
Highest 10% Earn:
$104,000
Location Quotient:
1.2
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Maine

Total Environmental Planner Jobs:
93
Highest 10% Earn:
$94,000
Location Quotient:
1.63
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Environmental Planner Employers

1. AECOM
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$78,710
Environmental Planners Hired: 
24+
2. Tetra Tech
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$70,771
Environmental Planners Hired: 
11+
3. Parsons
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$82,878
Environmental Planners Hired: 
9+
4. Georgia Department of Economic Development
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$45,743
Environmental Planners Hired: 
8+
5. Washington State Employees Credit Union
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$58,082
Environmental Planners Hired: 
7+
6. POWER Engineers
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$79,395
Environmental Planners Hired: 
6+

Environmental Planner Videos

Updated October 2, 2020